Belated footnote re Giuliano d’Angiolini

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Something I forgot to mention when discussing the recent CDs of music by Dante Boon and Giuliano d’Angiolini. In his interview on the Another Timbre site, d’Angiolini says “I do have a great admiration for the work of Feldman, and in particular David Tudor, a great composer who is unjustly forgotten today.” He later adds that “I’m not as wise as Tudor, who disappeared without leaving a trace, like a light breeze on a summer afternoon.” There’s a text in which he writes “I like consonance and also dissonance if it does not derive from an excess of organization, of will. Thus that of David Tudor, which is free.”

I love that he’d found this connection from Tudor’s work as a composer – purely electronic, loud, frequently described as harsh – to his own gentle music for flute, piano and string quartet. So often music wears its influences in ways that are too obvious, imitative or derivative, when compared to visual arts. I’m thinking of that Feldman anecdote: “I once went to the Metropolitan with Mark Rothko, and we’d look at a Rembrandt painting and the way Rembrandt bleeds to the edges. Take a look at Rothko, the way he bleeds to the edges.” When I make music, I wonder about how much I’m really working with what I’ve been given, as a heritage. I had to look up that anecdote so now I’m reading Feldman again speculating on whether music really is an art form. It seems to be connected to this point, of how influence may manifest itself. He’s talking about composers, “what Cage was involved with was what everybody in the mainstream was involved with: variation, finding ways of variation.” “The tragedy of music,” he also says, quoting himself, “is that it begins in perfection.”